Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book review: Wicked (fantasy) by Gregory Maguire

Wicked is the Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch of the West's point of view. Author Gregory Maguire asks the question, was the Wicked Witch of the West evil? Is anyone evil? Is anyone a saint?

At Elphaba's (the Wicked Witch of the West) birth, her father makes a pronouncement regarding his newborn daughter...

"Heaven is not improved by it... and heaven does not approve." (p. 23) 

Because she is "abnormal", those who attend her birth consider killing Elphaba, but they quickly change their minds when she bites the finger off one of them.

Because her parents hardly ever touch her, Elphaba tries to avoid being touched. She is called "horrid" and "demon", by those who should love her.

Elphaba's mother describes one and half year old Elphaba as taking 'no delight in the world' (p. 33). Yet, how can she? How can she when her mother tells her things like..."Shall we go walk by the edge of the lake today and maybe you'll drown?" (p. 33) Has Elphaba been treated with love? Does she know love?

What is evil? Where does it come from? How is it born?

The only fault I can find with this book is the weak transitions between one chapter and the next. This left me guessing as to which character I was following. But on the whole it is an intriguing story, cleverly told.

More:  The author (Gregory Macguire) talks about his book (Wicked) (a YouTube video)

Next post:  To celebrate Halloween, I've studied its origins. I'll share that post next week.

Sharing my author journey...

What do you do if the words just aren't coming?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thank you

I'm most productive and happiest in the Spring and Summer. I wish those days could stretch on forever. And, truth be told, here on Mayne Island, we have enjoyed seemingly endless days of sun and warm weather. Still it wasn't enough. But try as I might I was unable to will Autumn away. And it came, bringing with it a chill breeze and falling leaves. 

Photo by Leanne Dyck

Change isn't easy. But it is made easier with the support of a friend. It is made easier with your support.

"An unexpected gift from a thoughtful neighbour"
photo by Leanne Dyck

This year I felt forced to reduce the number of blog posts. I wanted to focus on my goal of finding a publisher for my writing. I wanted to focus on developing and completing more writing projects. For this reason, I made the decision to post once a week instead of twice. But I worried about this change. Would you, would I forget about this blog? Would it die a slow death? I enjoy this blog and want to continue to nurture it. I'm so glad you feel the same way. Thanks to our mutual support this blog will continue to survive and it will strive. Here's to many more years of blog posts. Here's to many more years of change.

Photo by Leanne Dyck

My goal is to continue to strengthen my writing skills. For many years, I received guidance and support for this goal from my Mayne Island writing group. That's why it saddened and worried me when that group folded. Where would I find the support I need? How could I continue to write? Thankfully, one of the members of that old group decided to form a new group. And I'm pleased to report that, with the help of a few new members, the group is now as strong as it ever was. And it gets even better because I've also found a first reader. My first reader gives me individual help on my entire manuscript. It is so much fun working with her that I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

Photo by Leanne Dyck

Many people have helped and are helping me with my author journey. To them, to you, I say thank you. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reviewing Word Vancouver 2015

Word Vancouver 'is Western Canada's largest celebration of literacy and reading'.

photo by Leanne Dyck

Once again this year I was only able to attend half of what I wanted to. There was just too much happening. Inside the library there were author readings, workshops, presentations and panel discussions. Outside there were information booths for a diverse collection of groups from publishers to literacy advocates. Plus a stage for performers and tents for author readings.

Saturday I arrived half an hour early. I was eager for the day to begin. First up was a consultation with an established children's literature author. Because I was early I was able to score the third time slot. I was forewarned that ten minutes flew by so I spent the waiting time preparing a point form presentation about my experience, my manuscripts and my goals. The consultation was time well spent. I received validation for the work I've done and encouragement and inspiration to continue working. After the consultation I planned to grab something to eat but instead was pulled into an engaging workshop on how to get out of your own way and write the unexpected. In total, during Saturday and Sunday, I attended three workshops, three panel discussions as well as networking with publishers and fellow authors. 

It's interesting what you can learn if you listen...

A panelist said that she had received over 400 rejections. Another panelist dumped a large bag of mail on the floor.

He said, "This isn't fan mail."

It was rejection letters.

They told the room full of authors not to listen to naysayers and to never give up. They advised us to work towards our future success and prepare to make sacrifices to reach them. They stressed that writing isn't a hobby and it isn't part-time.

It's during events like this that I realize (once again) how truly blessed I am. I'm doing what I love, surrounded by a generously supportive community.

I'll write about what I learnt during Word Vancouver on...
Developing Your Characters on Monday, November 16th
Never Write Alone on Monday, November 30th

Next post:  What I'm thankful for this year

Sharing my author journey...

I'd like to thank you for your kind words regarding the death of my furry companion -- Ticky. He gave so much to me over his long life. And I knew I had do something with all that love. And so... Drum roll...

I'm pleased to introduce you to Bim.

photo by Leanne Dyck

Bim is a nine year old apricot Miniature Poodle cross. I think the other breed is Maltese.

For those of you interested in details...